An old NASA Tech Briefs article from 1995 discussed work done Marshall Space Flight Center researchers to see how various substances — including caffeine — affected spider web patterns. To be more specific, they exposed spiders to a range of different chemicals, including caffeine, marijuana, and Benzedrine (amphetamine) and recorded how they spun their webs under the influence of each of those substances. Read more for another video and additional information.
Photo credit: NASA via Peta Pixel
NASA announced yesterday that they’ll open the International Space Station to expanded commercial activities, including space tourism. Now, they estimate a trip will cost a private astronaut around $58 million, with additional estimated $35,000 charges for each day spent aboard the space station. Two paying space tourists could begin visits of up to 30 days as soon as 2020, and possibly shoot amazing photos of Earth. Read more for two additional videos and information.
Composite metal foam (CMF) is not what you find in packaging, but instead formed from hollow beads of one metal within a solid matrix of another, such as steel within aluminum, and boasts a 5-6 times greater strength to density ratio as well as more than 7 times greater energy absorption than previous metal foams. A single plate less than one inch thick has enough resistance to turn a .30-06 Springfield standard-issue M2 armor piercing bullet to dust. Read more to see it easily withstand a .50-caliber bullet.
NASA’s Mars Helicopter flight demonstration project has just entered the final testing phase and passed a number of key tests. In 2021, this small, autonomous helicopter will be the first vehicle in history to attempt to establish the viability of heavier-than-air vehicles flying on another planet. “Nobody’s built a Mars Helicopter before, so we are continuously entering new territory. Our flight model – the actual vehicle that will travel to Mars – has recently passed several important tests. We expect to complete our final tests and refinements and deliver the helicopter to the High Bay 1 clean room for integration with the rover sometime this summer,” said MiMi Aung, project manager for the Mars Helicopter at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Read more for a video and additional information
Residents of Coal Grove, Ohio, woke up to a bright pink surprise when they turned on their water. Local authorities were alerted and issued a statement apologizing for the situation, while explaining that a pump malfunction at the water treatment plant resulted in too much Sodium Permanganate being released into the distribution tank, causing the discoloration. Strange enough, they claim the water is safe to drink, as laboratory samples showed that the sodium permanganate levels were below the health risk guidelines of the EPA. Read more for a video and additional information.
Produced by extracting the liquid component of a gel through supercritical drying, Aerogel is officially the world’s lightest solid. Since this synthetic porous ultralight material is derived from a gel, in which the liquid component for the gel has been replaced with a gas, it becomes a solid with extremely low density and low thermal conductivity. It’s 99.8% air, and features a porous solid network that contains air pockets, with the air pockets taking up the majority of space within the material, making it near weightless. Read more for an in-depth video and additional information.
US Navy pilots reported seeing hypersonic (over 3,800 mph) UFOs that had no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes performing impossible mid-air maneuvers at 30,000-feet off the east coast of the United States between 2014 and 2015. The pilots reported that the objects were able to accelerate, make sudden stops and then instantaneous turns, or in other words, maneuvers beyond the capacity of current aerospace technology. Read more for an interview with one of these pilots by documentary filmmaker Jeremy Corbell and additional information.
Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope (SST), formerly the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF), is basically an infrared space telescope launched in 2003 and still operating as of 2019. This large celestial mosaic of the Cepheus C and Cepheus B regions taken by the SST includes multiple clusters of stars born from the same dense clumps of gas and dust, with some older than others and more evolved, making it a generational stellar portrait. This two-instrument image was compiled using data gathered from the Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) and the Multiband Imaging Photometer (MIPS) during Spitzer’s “cold” mission, before the spacecraft’s liquid helium coolant ran out in 2009. Read more for another video about the SST and additional information.
When lightning is captured in plexiglass acrylic, you get these amazing Lichtenberg figures, or the 3D electrical trees you’ve probably seen in paperweights at your local stationary store. These figures are created through electrical discharge via an insulator, or can be formed in smaller objet d’art, the only necessity being a large quantity of electrons being pumped in. When the plexiglass goes through the electron accelerator, it’s loaded with a charge that gets trapped inside, while a quick mechanical shock discharges the acrylic, creating the tree-like figures. Read more for another video and additional information.
Photo credit: Malcolm Denemark via The Daily Mail
SpaceX has successfully launched the first part of its satellite train into space, and it’s aimed to deliver global high-speed internet to all parts of Earth. The agency’s Falcon 9 rocket sent 60 satellites into the sky this past Thursday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and each one of these weighs in at 500-pounds. “This mission will push the operational capabilities of the satellites to the limit. SpaceX expects to encounter issues along the way, but our learnings here are key to developing an affordable and reliable broadband service in the future,”said SpaceX in a statement. Read more for two additional videos and information.